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Have we done enough?
“This year's review meeting is looming, no date set yet, but our teenage daughter is nervous about how much she has done this year. She did more outside of books, so there is less to show. I'm a bit nervous too. Have we done enough?” Tania
O f course you have ! Just take a deep breath, relax . Sit down with your daughter and brainstorm all the things she's learned this year. Record these on a big sheet of paper, preferably using a lot of different colours and in a way that is comfortable and fun.
Free brainstorm at first and when you start to run out of things, write a few subject headings randomly on the page: these don't necessarily have to be curriculum subjects, but could include topics and areas in which your daughter is interested as well. Think about all the things she's learned relating to those and write them down.
When you run out of thoughts about those, look about the house, see each area as an area of learning : what has she learned in the last year when working in the kitchen, bathroom , laundry, garden, garage, etc. Think about a nything and everything that she didn't know or couldn't do before. For example, she might have experimented seriously with make-up for the first time. What does she now know she didn't before? Or perhaps she has made a few garments for herself; redecorated her bedroom; made a piece of furniture; become a vegetarian and learned to cook nutritious and balanced family meals. Perhaps she's taken up a new hobby or sport or begun to study for her driver's license…
Once you've exhausted exploring the home environment, broaden your brainstorming to include the community… Just keep widening the range of topics to uncover a huge list of things she has learned this year! What you should have at the end is a big sheet of paper totally covered in words and maybe a few doodles and drawings...
At this stage, i f you want, you can get some highlighting textas in eight different colours (coloured pencils, crushed chalk, or whatever) to highlight those things that definitely relate to curriculum subjects (KLAs or whatever they are called where you live). You don't have to of course : the sheet stands on its own as a record of what she has learned.
You might like to gather a few pieces of ‘evidence' that illustrate some of the learning that you've recorded. These might include photographs and things she has made. Think outside of the box: our lives are scattered with the artifacts of our past and they all tell stories. Pick half a dozen that tell stories across the curriculum and then create some written documentation to support them. Perhaps your daughter could spend a week or so creating a scrapbook of some of this year's highlights, adding descriptions and reflective comments.
For next year's learning plan you can do the same kind of brainstorming : visualize some of the things she'd like to do, set some goals, list some objectives. Let it be a creative and imaginative session, working from the centre and moving out in the same way as the recording brainstorming session.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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